<span;>JAMMU: Few days after Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s statement that the Government will analyze the situation before taking call on annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) which is headed by Sinha has started granting permissions to the Langar Organizations for installing their langars at Baltal from June 28 to August 22.
<span;>Significantly, the permission granted for setting up of langar is for 56 days which is the same duration for which the SASB had earlier proposed to hold annual pilgrimage this year before second wave of COVID pandemic set in prompting the Board to suspend registration of pilgrims on April 18 within 18 days of its begining.
<span;>An SASB letter, signed by Additional Chief Executive Officer (ACEO) Anup Kumar Soni, which is in possession of the Excelsior, has granted permission to Barfani Sewa Mandal near Hind Cinema, Kaithal in Haryana for setting up of a Langar at Baltal from 28.06.2021 to 22.08.2021. It directed the organization to install the Langar at the location identified by the Camp Director/General Manager (Works) as per the SASB approved layout plan only.
<span;>The SASB communication has also been sent to the Divisional Commissioners Kashmir/Jammu, Additional Director General of Police Jammu, Inspector General of Police Kashmir and General Manager (Works). It has asked the IGP Kashmir to depute Road Opening Parties for smooth flow of Langar vehicles along with security.
<span;>“We look forward to the pilgrims benefitting from your Langar service during the forthcoming yatra,” the SASB letter to the Langar Organization said.
<span;>Shri Amarnath Barfani Langar Organization (SABLO) general secretary Rajan Gupta told the Excelsior on telephone from Punjab that on one side the Government as well as SASB were yet to announce whether Shri Amarnath Ji yatra will be held or not and, if held, what will be duration of pilgrimage and number of yatris allowed per day besides the COVID protocol while, on the other, they have asked the Langar Organization to complete all formalities by June 19 and reach the location i.e. Baltal on June 20.
<span;>Asserting that top SASB officials are incommunicado, Gupta wondered that the Langar schedule mentioned in the organization is for full duration of yatra i.e. 56 days which was announced by the SASB prior to breakout of second wave of COVID pandemic.
<span;>“The SASB should come out with detailed statement on Shri Amarnath Ji yatra to rest all speculations and doubts so that Langar organizations proceed accordingly,” Gupta said.
<span;>Experts, however, suggested that granting of permission to the Langar Organization by the SASB was an indication that the annual pilgrimage to holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji could be held though with limited number of yatris. As the track has been cleared on Baltal route and permission to the Langar body has also been accorded for Baltal, the experts said the yatra could be held from shorter route.
<span;>However, they said, things would be clear only when the SASB Chairman and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha comes out with a statement on the yatra.
<span;>There were also indications that the SASB could meet after few days to take call on annual pilgrimage.
<span;>In a recent interview to a news channel, Sinha had stated that the Government will analyze the situation as lives of people are also important before taking a decision on Shri Amarnath Ji yatra.
<span;>As per the experts, there has been quite good activity of the administration as well as the Shrine Board along the Baltal track. Recently, the administration had stated that 90 percent of 13 kilometers Baltal track in Ganderbal district of Kashmir has been cleared. However, similar work on longer Pahalgam route in South Kashmir was yet to pick up.
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